The production of oxysterols in bile by activated human leukocytes

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 May 5;343(2):467-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.02.165. Epub 2006 Mar 9.


Oxysterols are naturally occurring intermediates in the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids, the major route for elimination of cholesterol. Additionally, they are important signaling agents, particularly in control of cholesterol synthesis; however, some species also are cytotoxic and carcinogenic. Oxysterols in plasma, contained in oxidized low-density lipoprotein, are strongly correlated with atherosclerosis. Oxysterols are found in infected human bile and the oxysterol content in gallstones correlates with bacterial DNA in the stones. Here we demonstrate that human leukocytes, activated by the presence of bacterial lipopolysaccharide, are able to oxidize cholesterol to a variety of oxysterols, including species known to be carcinogenic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bile / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Neutrophil Activation / drug effects
  • Neutrophil Activation / physiology*
  • Sterols / biosynthesis*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Sterols
  • Cholesterol